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Zimbabwean President launches construction of China-funded parliament

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has launched the construction of a new parliament, which is to be financed by the Chinese.

Officials say the current colonial-era parliamentary building in the city centre is too small to accommodate lawmakers. Reportedly built to accommodate 100 lawmakers, the current structure is used by Zimbabwe's 350 parliamentarians.

New smart city

The new 650-seater parliament is also part of government's plans to establish a new smart city.

Other facilities like banks, hotels will be built around this place, President Mnangagwa stressing that a modern, smart citywas planned.

Gift from China

The imposing circular complex will be built over 32 months by the Shanghai Construction group at Mount Hampden, 18 kilometres (11 miles) north-west of Harare, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported.

President Mnangagwa said at the ceremony that China had provided a grant, not a loan, to build a new parliament,without giving a figure.

The Chinese have also pledged to construct parliaments for the Republic of Congo and Gabon in Central Africa.

President Mnangagwa took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe who was ousted by the military in November 2017.

He has vowed to revive Zimbabwe's economy that has been in ruins for nearly two decades.

China has funded and provided loans for many infrastructure projects across Africa in recent years, ranging from roads and power plants to sports stadiums and government institutions.

Critics say China's increasing sway over the continent undermines democracy and sovereignty.

Source: Voice of Nigeria